By ayan c. mellejor
Despite the declaration of President Rodrigo Duterte to arrest consultants of the National Democratic Front (NDF) granted temporary liberty for the peace talks, the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the military still want guidelines from higher authorities on their arrest and other legal implications.
Speaking at a press conference Tuesday at the Public Safety and Security Center, Task Force Haribon Chief Brig. General Gilbert Gapay said they want specific guidelines on their arrest. “On the legal side – we are not in that position.”
But Gapay confirmed they are tracking the whereabouts of the NDF consultants following the declaration of the President.
Davao City Police Office (DCPO) Director Michael John Dubria said they have not received written orders yet after the President’s declaration and the statement of PNP Chief Ronald dela Rosa to arrest NDF consultants who were out on bail for the peace talks starting last year.
On Monday, the Criminal Investigation and Detection group (CIDG) took the custody of NDF consultant Ariel Arbitrario and two of his companions after their arrest at Sirawan checkpoint.
On Monday night, CIDG transferred Arbitrario to Compostela Valley jail after hours of being held by CIDG.
Arbitrario, an NDF consultant on ceasefire and political and constitutional reforms, is facing a murder case but he was granted bail to allow him to participate in the peace negotiations with the government.
His two other companions Roderick Mamuyac has a standing warrant of arrest for a case of murder in Tagum City while the driver Rosario Sinday was released.
Following the suspension of the GRP-NDF peace talks, the military considered the NDF’s armed forces, the New People’s Army (NPA) as threat to the security of the city.
But both the PNP and the military are ready in case the NPA would launch atrocities in Davao.
“It is incumbent upon us that once we receive reports we are prepared to take action and monitoring,” Gapay said.
Gapay alleged that even before the suspension of the talks and the termination of the unilateral ceasefire, the NPA has been moving around taking advantage of the ceasefire by consolidating forces.
He said they received many reports of their extortion and harassment activities in the rural villages.
With this recent setback, Gapay said they expect the NPA to undertake atrocities. He added that it is not remote that it might be similar ways on how terrorists sow terror in the city.
Gapay said the military was under a passive mode during the unilateral ceasefire but they are now taking an active position.
PSSCC Chief Benito de Leon assured Davaoenos their safety.
He said they also stand by the leadership in seeing to it the goal of a just and lasting peace is for the welfare of the people and not for the benefit of a group.
De Leon said that Mayor Sara Duterte has a solid stand for a peaceful Davao.